Communication Skills GDP 111

dear learner- this course is designed for first year students of UEW to help in improving our communicative skills

Communication Skills GDP 111

This course is a general course designed for first year students of the university to aid them improve upon their communicative skills and to be able to adjust to the academic discourse community.

Theories of Human Communication

This is a three-credit hour core course for all graduate students in the Department of Communication and Media Studies. It is therefore a mandatory course. The course is offered only in the first semester of the first year of admission into the programme.


University ofEducation, Winneba

Department of Communication and Media Studies

First Semester2013/2014

COM 502: Rhetorical Theory and Practice

Credit Hours: 3

Instructor: Christiana Hammond


Phone: 020-262-5182/027-240-1605

Office Hours: Wednesday: 9am – 12 noon or by appointment

Course Description

Thiscourse is designed to offer an overview of the historical development of rhetoric divided into conventional chronological periods – the Classical, the Medieval, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Nineteenth Century, the Modern and the Postmodern. Emphasis is placed on the theoretical outlook of each period, alongside a close examination of key texts. The course aims to introduce students to the organisation of information: skills of informationpresentation and rhetorical types-narration, description, persuasion and argumentation paying attention to the appropriate use of stylistic tools such as lexicon, syntax and rhetorical devices. At the end of the course, participants should be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of knowledge in rhetorical theory and practice and appreciate the rhetorical structure of text in terms of the communities and cultures that produce them.


  1. General Introduction

a. Meaning and Origins of Rhetoric

b. The Canons of Rhetoric- Invention, Arrangement, Style and Delivery

  1. Historical Development of Rhetoric

a. Classical Rhetoric – Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian Periods

b. Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment Rhetoric

· Science of Oratory/ Vernacular Rhetoric

· Arts of Letter Writing, Sermons, Propaganda, Commercials etc.

c. Nineteenth Century Rhetoric

· Revival of Rhetorical studies: Setting up Sch/Colleges of Rhetoric and Speech

· Formation of National and International Professional Organisations

d. Modern and Post-modern Rhetoric

· Advertising and Mass Media

· Public Relations, Law, Lobbying etc

  1. Rhetorical Analysis & Functional Grammar
  • Stylistic Features ( With a focus on prominent Historical and Post-modern speeches)

ü MarkAnthony Eulogy, Martin Luther King Jnr’s I Have a Dream, George Bush at ‘GroundZero’, Barack Obama’s victory speech, , John Mahama’s Inaugural speech, Nelson Mandela Acceptance speech, Kwame Nkrumah’s Speech on the night of the independence of Ghana. Bill Clinton’s Tuskegee Speech

  • A Grammar of text analysis (Focus on prose style – Editorials, writings of P.A.V. Ansah, Ayikwei Armah, Chenua Achebe, Kwakuvi Azasu, Kwesi Yankah etc.
  1. Oratory and Public Speaking

a. Persuasion– Persuasive Appeal: Ethos, Logos, Pathos

· Acts of persuasions to veil intent

ü Mark Anthony’s Eulogy

ü Socrates, condemned to death addresses his Judges.

· MajorAreas where Persuasion is much more needed

ü Political Campaigns, Judiciary, Doctor-Patient Interactions, Sermons, Commercials,Courting, Parenting etc.Biography, Tributes, Citations, Eulogies.

  1. Processes of Public Speaking
  2. Oratory in Akan society

· ElegaicPoetry ( Funeral Dirges)

ü Prosodic Features (Lexicology); Suprasegmental Features; Thematic Features and Performance

  1. Conceptual Basis of Metaphors Metaphors we live by


One assignment will be turned in every week. This paper should not be more than 3 – pages double spaced. All sources cited and used must be acknowledged using the conventions of the APA (American Psychological Association) style manual. There will be Individual and group power point presentations every other week. The aim of all these assignments is to text your understanding and appreciation of how the theories and practice of rhetoric and rhetorical structure of texts have evolved. 


Week 1 :The Meaning and Origin of Rhetorics

Week 2 :The Rhetorical canons as the philosophical foundations for the editor’sjudgement

Week 3 :A group power point presentation of the Rhetorical canons serving as a fitting and logical way of approaching the editing of a text

Weeks 4 & 5 : Historical Development of Rhetorics: Distinctive features of Classical Rhetoric and its influences across time.

Week 6 : A Rhetorical Analysis of A letter from Birmingham Jail – Luther King Jnr.

Week 7 : A group power point presentation of the Rhetorical structure of two different texts from different contexts (Comparative Analysis)

Week 8 : Discuss the relevance of Persuasion in thisera of Democracy.

Weeks 9 & 10 Individual Power point presentation on Dirges as a form of Triadic Communication

Weeks 11: Analyse acontemporary speech using the three Persuasive Appeals of Ethos, Logos andPathos

Week 12: PracticalStylistics: A transitivity and Clausal analysis of Editorials

Week 13 &14 Examinations

Assessment for this course will be as follows:

  1. Assignment 20%
  2. Group Presentations 10%
  3. Term Paper 10%
  4. Examination 60%



Agyekum, K (2004). Aspects of Persuasionin Akan Communication. Legon Journal ofHumanities. Vol 16. Pp 1-26

Bizell, P & Herzeberg, B. (2001). The Rhetorical Traditions: Readings fromClassical Times to the Present. Boston: Bedford and St. Martins

Gadzekpo, A, Karikari, K. & Yankah,K. (Ed.) (1996). Going to Town: TheWritings of PaulAnsah. Vol. 1.Accra: Ghana Universities Press.

Halliday, M.A.K (1985/1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar.London: Edward Arnold

Lakoff and Johnson 2003, 2nded).

Yankah, K. (1995). Speakingfor the Chief:Okyeame and the Politics of Akan Royal Oratory. Bloomington: Indiana University Press*Additional readings (articles, monographs etc) will be prescribed/recommended as and when needed.


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